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Dawn of a New Day

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Bahá’í Publishing Trust of India, date unknown
  • Pages:
  • 228
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Pages 133-136

Grave Challenge

[From the Guardian:]
The communications addressed to me several months ago by your Assembly have, after considerable delay in transmission, reached the Holy Land, and, together with the reports and minutes accompanying them, were read with deep and sustained interest.
The tremendous task facing the Baha’i Communities in India, Pakistan and Burma, constitutes a grave challenge to the followers of the Faith of Baha’u’llah in these countries and must be faced and met with courage, determination and a 134 spirit of complete dedication to His Cause. The disturbances that have so gravely shaken the peoples of these countries, on the morrow of a world-convulsing international conflict; the unfortunate and sudden cessation of communications between these countries and the World Centre of the Faith in the Holy Land during the past year; the fears and anxieties engendered by a steadily deteriorating international situation which cannot but dismay the stoutest hearts, have no doubt contributed, in varying degrees, and in no small measure, to a slowing down of the progress of the collective enterprise, so nobly, so enthusiastically and so energetically initiated by the upholders of the Faith throughout the sub-continent of India and Burma.
The reverses they have suffered, with their attendant disappointments, confusion and relaxation of effort, must never be allowed, however short the period remaining before the termination of their Plan, to jeopardize the chance of a success which is still in their power to achieve. They must close their ranks, gird up their loins, rededicate their souls and spirits to the unfinished tasks which face them, purge themselves of every taint of communal prejudice, detach themselves from every thought of self-interest, and arise, while there is yet time, to attain the goals they have pledged themselves to attain.
The final phase of the Plan with which they stand identified, and on which their immediate destiny depends, coincides with the hundredth anniversary of the most bloody, tragic and turbulent period in the history of their Faith—a period immortalised by the noblest evidences of Baha’i self-sacrifice, marked by acts of sublime heroism, and ennobled by a spirit of dedication and determination unsurpassed at any subsequent stage in Baha’i history. Now, if ever, is the time to emulate the example of these heroes, saints and martyrs. Now is the time to pour out one’s substance as copiously and as readily, as the Dawn-breakers of the Heroic Age of the Faith have shed their life-blood in the path of this most precious Cause. No more befitting tribute can be paid to the memory of these luminous souls, by those who carry the torch of Divine Guidance after them, than by a corresponding 135
manifestation of solidarity, self-abnegation, zeal and devotion, which will impel them to forsake their homes, sacrifice their treasure, brave every danger, endure every hardship, expend every ounce of energy, that the Plan which they have spontaneously and unitedly sponsored may, through its triumphant termination, carry them a stage further along the broad highway of their destiny.
The multiplication of Baha’i Assemblies, at any cost and with the utmost speed; the reconstitution of dissolved Assemblies, however great the effort required; the completion of the translation into, and the printing of the New Era, in the few remaining languages, within the shortest possible time, the despatch of no more than one pioneer, to the neighbouring Island of Ceylon, to Siam and to Indonesia, ere the termination of the closing year of the Plan—these stand out as the immediate requirements of the present challenging hour—requirements that the prosecutors of the Plan must meet. The eyes of their fellow-workers in East and West, are fixed upon them. The Concourse on high watches their actions, and stands ready to bless and reinforce their labours. The Centre of the Covenant Himself is eagerly waiting to witness the evidences of their victory, and will no doubt intercede, on their behalf, before the throne of Baha’u’llah, if they but arise resolutely and spur their chargers into the arena of service.
The sands are indeed running out. The task that remains to be accomplished is indeed colossal. The distractions, temptations, and pitfalls that might interfere with its consummation are many and varied. The resources however spiritual and material still at the disposal of the members of these communities, are still adequate, if they but resolve to utilize them, to the needs of the present hour. The blessings from on high, ready to be showered upon them, are more than adequate to ensure their complete and total victory. So much hangs on the fortunes of the present Plan! So much must necessarily depend on the manner and the spirit in which they discharge their terrific responsibilities, during the few fleeting months still allotted them ere the expiry of the Plan! 136
I entreat them, with all the fervour of my soul, not to allow this golden opportunity to slip from their grasp. They have, in the past, proved themselves capable, in times of crisis, of overleaping the most formidable barriers, and of wresting victory from the jaws of impending defeat. Theirs is the opportunity, now if ever, to demonstrate a similar resolution, a no less spectacular outburst of enthusiasm, an even nobler heroism and self-sacrifice than they have ever shown in the past.
Then, and only then, will the next stage in the evolution of their common destiny be unveiled to their eyes. Then, and only then, will the call summoning them to press forward to yet another landmark in their history be sounded. Then, and only then, will a still fuller measure of heavenly prizes be laid up for them in reward for their inestimable and arduous services in the treasuries of the Abha Kingdom by Him who alone knows how to re-ignite His faithful servants.
April 9, 1949